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Genesis 4:17-26 – Walking the Line – Part 3
So, I will finishthis section of Genesis off with three points: First, Adam and Eve had thrown away the opportunity to come to God on the basis of covenant works. From then on, the only way men could come to God was on the basis of the covenant of grace. It was not that there was no work involved in this covenant, but that the work was Christ’s, not mans. And this was true whether, as in the O.T., men looked forward to the work of Christ to come in history (the promise becoming known in increasing detail as time passed), or whether, as in our case, we look back to the death of Christ as the Savior in history. Therefore, since Cain, everyone in the world stands either in the place of Cain or the place of Abel.
From this time on in the flow of history there are 2 humanities. The one humanity says there is not God, or it makes gods in its own imagination, or it tries to come to the true God in its own way. The other humanity comes to the true God’s way. There is NO middle ground.
Second, as far as the promise in Gen. 3:15 is concerned, the Messiah could have come from anywhere in the human race. But Seth brings the first glimmer of the promise. From this time on, the Messiah will come from this line.
And third, when we look at Cain killing Abel, we can see a horrible lack of the love which should have existed between men as equal creatures - not just because they were fleshly brothers, though this makes the matter worse, but simply because they were equally created by God, created in the same image of God! They were of the same flesh, the same blood, of one kind, of one race.
In contrast to Cain, we who are Christians should stand as the seed given to Christ in His substitutionary work, and to show in our present life the restored brotherhood in restored love. This is our calling as Christians. We are to show the opposite of what Cain, the murderer, showed.
The Bible makes plain who stands among this brotherhood. In Matt. 12:47-50 Jesus’ natural mother and His natural brothers came as He was talking to the people.
“Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to His disciples, He said: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Here then is the brotherhood! The same thing is spoken of in Matt. 23:8 where Jesus instructs His disciples: “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.” Thus, a new humanity is established on the basis of the works of Christ, and this new humanity is to love the brotherhood as brothers, and all men as neighbors.
We have known for a long time that we are to live in a loving relationship with each other. As 1 John 3:11-12 says: “For this is the massage you heard from the beginning: we should love one another.” John is saying that this commandment dates not just from Moses but from the time when God created men to be men. It goes on to say: “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.” Here is the contrast. We are called as Christians to step out from the line of Cain and to reverse that line!
The world should be able to look upon us and see a love that stands, first of all, among the brotherhood but also extends (as commanded in the story of the good Samaritan) to all men. Evangelism is a calling, but not the first calling. Building congregations is a calling, but not a first calling.
A Christian’s first call is to step from the line of Cain into the line of Abel, upon the basis of the shed blood of the Lamb of God, to return to the first commandment to love God, to love the brotherhood, and then to love one’s neighbor as himself.
Abraham was a man of faith, a man of God, who in a specific way is a perfect example of standing in the line of Abel in contrast to the line of Cain. Facing Lot, his nephew, at a crucial time in a difficult relationship which had developed between them, Abraham said: “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are brethren.” (Gen. 13:8).
Abraham stood in the exact same place where all those who have become children of God should stand. And notice that there was a COST in doing what he did. Abraham said to Lot: “Is not the whole land before you? Let us part company, if you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” Abraham paid a tremendous price. He stood in complete contrast to Cain. He gave the first choice of grazing land to a younger man. Abraham, in COSTLY love, stood in the spirit of the godly line. In every age and every situation this is our place as Christians!!
So, they began to call upon the name of Jehovah, the Hebrew word for Lord. The meaning of the name Jehovah is I am that I am. He is the eternal God, the unique One who is. Everything and everyone else is not. Frail, mortal human beings realized they needed the eternal God.
Humanity’s condition is the same today as it was in Enosh’s time. We’re still frail and mortal, and life is often confusing, full of turmoil, and even overwhelming to us. We’re limited physically and psychologically. We need the eternal God. Rom 10:12 says: “For the same LORD is LORD of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him.”
What are these riches? Jesus Christ!! It continues in verse 13: “For EVERYONE who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved!” And Jer. 33:3 - Call unto me and I WILL answer you...”
Have you “Called upon the Name of the LORD? Which line will you walk today!?